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June 11, 2003

If it ain't broke...
By Dan Patrick

One question looming around the NBA Finals this year is whether the San Antonio Spurs will acquire soon-to-be free agent Jason Kidd as their point guard for next season.

Jason Kidd and Tony Parker
Tony Parker (9) outplayed Jason Kidd in Game 3, scoring 26 points and dishing six assists.

Right now, the Spurs have 21-year-old Tony Parker at the point. For Parker, playing on a championship-caliber team is the best kind of on-the-job training. And thus far in the finals, he has outplayed Kidd in two of the three games, which has resulted in a 2-1 series lead over the New Jersey Nets.

In Game 3, Parker scored 26 points, including consecutive 3-pointers to pad a Spurs' lead in the final minutes of the game -- proving he's not too green to handle playoff pressure. Parker is reminiscent of Lakers point guard Derek Fisher. Parker can be the No. 2 scoring option when needed and he can hit the open jumper. And he just keeps getting better.

So, if it ain't broke, why try to fix it?

Skeptics will point to the first round of the playoffs and tell you that Stephon Marbury practically ate Parker alive. But Marbury ate everyone alive this season -- including Jason Kidd.

They'll also say that the Spurs' dethroning of the reigning champs was more of an LA loss than a San Antonio win, citing an out-of-shape Shaquille O'Neal and injuries to key role players as evidence. The Kings, too, were left vulnerable without Chris Webber. But the last time I checked, a win is a win -- simplistic, yes, but the bottom line is that the Spurs and Parker are getting the job done.

So the Spurs are all set at point guard. Instead, they should consider spending Kidd-like money on a young big man, considering the retirement of David Robinson following the NBA Finals. Someone like Jermaine O'Neal could take some pressure off two-time MVP Tim Duncan. Maybe the Spurs could even afford another contributing player.

And if you don't believe me, ask ESPN analyst Bill Walton. Walton and I actually agreed on this -- and that's a scary thought.

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